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The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) say that global sales of recorded music – audio and music video – grew by 1.7% in units and fell 1.3% in value in the first half of 2004, compared to the same period in 2003. Audio sales fell by 2.7% in value, while the music video sector grew by 20.2% driven by DVD music video, which increased by 26.6%. Interim sales of all audio and music video formats totalled $US13.9 billion, compared to $US14.1 billion in 2003. The figures reflect a slowing of the rate of decline in music sales of the past four years. This is the best first-half year result achieved since 2000. Sales in regional and individual territories varied widely, with the effects of unauthorised file-sharing on the internet and commercial piracy, among other factors, still affecting many of the world’s markets. The US music market is leading the recovery, while markets such as Canada, Germany and Japan are showing a substantial reduction in their rate of decline. But other markets including Spain, Italy and the Netherlands are still weak, and more recent reversals have hit sales in France and Australia.

Two bright spots are DVD music video, which continues to show strong growth and has helped offset the decline in audio formats. Meanwhile, the growth of legitimate digital music downloads which suggests a strong future for the online music market. These are not currently included in official industry figures. Jay Berman, IFPI Chairman and CEO said: “There are some signs that the world’s markets are beginning to recover, boosted by the continued growth of DVD music video, digital sales and added-value releases. However, markets continue to be hampered by the dual effects of commercial and internet piracy. IFPI and its national groups are continuing to persuade music fans to download from legitimate music sites, and not file-share illegally. More and more consumers are using authorised download services – a distinctly positive sign.”

See : www.ifpi.org